Allen County Education Leaders Unite for Public School Students - February 05, 2015
Superintendents and Board members from the four Allen County public school districts joined with Greater Fort Wayne Inc. in a show of support for public school students and the resources needed to achieve excellence.
Education funding is a key issue for state legislators during this budget session. East Allen County Schools, Fort Wayne Community Schools, Northwest Allen County Schools and Southwest Allen County Schools are joining together to demonstrate the collaboration that exists between school districts and to reinforce that increased funding for some districts should not come at the expense of funding for other districts.
“As state legislators debate over school funding, we want to be clear that we believe funding needs to increase for all public schools,” said Dr. Wendy Robinson, Superintendent of Fort Wayne Community Schools. “Some are attempting to pit school districts against each other by creating a funding system with winners and losers. We cannot afford to have any losers when it comes to funding public education.”
The four school districts have a combined total of nearly 54,000 students, who come from a variety of backgrounds but who all have the same goal in mind: academic success.
“All four school districts serve a wide range of students with various learning needs, and we proudly accept and serve them all,” said Dr. Phil Downs, Superintendent of Southwest Allen County Schools. “We are working hard to foster 21st Century skills in our students to prepare them to be college and career ready.”
The education leaders share the aims of business leaders, who want to be sure Northeast Indiana maintains a strong workforce.
“Strong schools are the foundation of an economically viable community,” said Ron Turpin, Chairman of the Greater Fort Wayne Inc. Board of Directors. “When businesses move to an area, one of the first things they ask about is the quality of the schools. We are fortunate in Allen County to have four strong and successful public school districts. This not only helps us attract businesses today but guarantees we will have the necessary workforce for the future.”
Funding for public schools, however, has not kept pace with the growing needs of students and increasing expectations to keep pace with technological advances.
“Funding from the state fails to keep up with inflationary increases in our expenses to the point we are behind 2009 per student funding levels. The result is reduced access to curriculum programs as well as fewer support services to help each child achieve his or her potential,” said Chris Himsel, Superintendent of Northwest Allen County Schools.
The leaders of the four Allen County school districts and Greater Fort Wayne Inc. are standing united on the issue of school funding in recognition that all public schools are in need of additional funding to meet today’s expectations. Board members in each of the districts will also consider a resolution asking the public and legislators to support public school funding, limit unfunded mandates and give traditional public schools the opportunity to compete on a level playing field.
“We stand united on behalf of all public school children,” said Dr. Ken Folks, Superintendent of East Allen County Schools. “Public schools enroll every child who lives within our boundaries – we don’t pick and choose – and all the children deserve the highest quality education we can provide.”